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At 3Q Digital, we do weekly client calls with all our clients.  If one were to look down the entire 3Q Digital roster of Account Managers, I might be the biggest introvert of the whole group (irrespective of the character I play in social media).  However, my verbal succinctness doesn’t stop me from having very engaged client calls that frequently run longer than expected given the posted call agenda.

A typical client call agenda consists of the various weekly reports bookended by data callouts with analysis.  Also, the agenda might also contain some additional discussion points not necessarily directly related to performance.

Unless the performance is “notable” in some fashion, I don’t spend too much time on the call talking about it.  I might even skip parts of it entirely.  I don’t believe that repeating something that’s already been noted in the agenda and presented clearly in the reports is a good use of either the client’s time or mine.

Instead, I spend the lion’s share of almost all my client calls focused on more “conceptual” discussion points surrounding some facet of the paid search management engagement, the client’s business, or some other points relevant to why the client is working with us in the first place.

IMO, the key to generating positive momentum and ROI on an account isn’t only my paid search knowledge fused together with our most effective agency-wide processes.  Instead, it’s my ability to draw out via conversation from my clients what issues and challenges they might be facing and then overlay my knowledge and expertise onto those issues and challenges which ultimately improves the numbers in the reports I’m sending to them.

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Even when I am going over the reports with the client and we’re looking at the numbers together, I tend to eschew making direct reference to the exact numbers that we’re both looking at.  Instead, I try to transform the numbers into a relevant piece of commentary.  After the call, the client will only physically take away the reports with the numbers from the meeting…however, if I can provide some insight that’s both memorable and germane to the report, the linkage between my words and the numbers will remain with the client as he/she processes what we’ve given them.

I’ve also found that in addition to the direct action items that the client gives to us and expects to be performed, developing an ongoing relationship via weekly guided yet minimally restricted discussions would uncover other issues and pain points where my expertise can either shed some light on a possible solution or actually become a future action item where I can implement a solution.  This helps the client and adds more value to the ongoing relationship.

All the talking points that I add to my client calls each week mean that my vocal cords might get a bit of a workout as we might travel far afield from the typical boundaries of paid search performance.  Yet, the value of such a trip isn’t necessarily the journey itself but the insights gleaned and lessons learned from it, and the circuity of such discussions lead us collectively down a myriad of creative paths with an end result advantageous to all.

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Todd Mintz
Todd Mintz, who has been with 3Q Digital since March 2011, has worked in search engine marketing since 2000 and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog.